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Technology Trends – November 2008

Fighting Pain

Neurostimulation delivers low voltage electrical  stimulation to the spinal cord or targeted peripheral nerve to block the sensation of pain. One theory, the Gate Control Theory of pain developed by researchers Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall, proposes that neurostimulation activates the body's pain inhibitory system. According to this theory, there is a gate in the spinal cord that controls the flow of noxious pain signals to the brain. The theory suggests that the body can inhibit these pain signals or “close the gate” by activating certain non-noxious nerve fibers in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. The neurostimulation system, implanted in the epidural space, stimulates these pain-inhibiting nerve fibers, masking the sensation of pain with a tingling sensation (paresthesia).

Source:https://www.medtronic.com/neuro/paintherapies/pain
_treatment_ladder/neurostimulation/neuro_neurostimulation.html

The first recipient of the Eon Mini – the world's smallest and longest-lasting, rechargeable neurostimulator to treat chronic pain of the trunk or limbs and pain from failed back surgery, was Adam Hammond. Hammond was skydiving in 2006 when his parachute did not deploy correctly. He hit the ground at a speed in excess of 45 miles an hour.

Even with its small size, the Eon Mini neurostimulator has the longest-lasting battery life of any rechargeable spinal cord stimulation (SCS) device in its class. It is the only small rechargeable neurostimulator to receive a 10-year battery life approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For patients, this means the device should provide sustainable therapy and maintain a reasonable recharge interval for 10 years of use at high settings. The device's battery longevity also means that patients require fewer battery replacement surgeries. The charging system is fully portable.

Pain management through neurostimulation systems work in two ways. One is surgically implanted and completely internal and the other has both internal and external components. In an internal neurostimulation system, the battery and lead(s) are surgically implanted

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